How to Build a Climbing Wall
6 Steps to Build a Climbing Wall.
Step 1. Planning and Designing Your Wall
Step 2. Making a Sketch and a Model
Step 3. Gathering Materials and Tools
Step 4. Constructing Your Climbing Wall
Step 5. Adding Features, Texture, and Holds
Step 6. Addressing Fall-Zone, Maintenance, and Safety Considerations
It is fun and challenging to build a climbing wall. You are sure to find it a rewarding experience in itself, and you will get many benefits from your climbing wall for years to come. A home climbing wall does not need to be complex. You can get an excellent workout on a straight or slightly overhung, straight floor-to-ceiling wall. The standard ceiling height of a garage or interior home is just perfect for a home bouldering wall.
On these pages you will find an overview for building a climbing wall. The book "Building Your Own Climbing Wall" offers details about design and planning, modeling a wall, how to shop smart and get great deals on material and equipment, construction techniques including fastening methods, leveling tricks across long distances including where you don't have line-of-sight, cutting and fitting irregular shapes, cutting compound angles, easy and inexpensive texturing, and maintenance of your climbing wall. It also included excellent sections on route-setting and climbing games to make training fun and effective. Really, this is an all-inclusive, comprehensive book. Highly recommended for anyone about to begin building their own home climbing wall.
While you are getting your ideas together, visit indoor climbing gyms and pay particular attention to the shapes and sizes of the walls. Gather your ideas and begin planning your project.
Define Your Climbing Goals.
Decide what kind of training you need from the climbing wall before you jump into building it. Different features of a climbing wall are good for different types of training. Strength training is done in short bursts of maximum power in several sets. A steep overhang is good for strength training. For this type of training you don't need a long distance, but will need floor space, or area to accommodate a steeper angle. A home built climbing wall is great for power training because you can come and go from the climbing wall to add additional sets following your recovery. Endurance training is sub-maximal exertion for longer periods of time. The type of climbing wall that works well for endurance would be vertical or slightly overhung (at most 70°) and longer in distance. You can get pretty good endurance training by setting an overlapping 20-move route. Every other day add another hold to the route. A four-panel bouldering wall will make a very good size. This will give you 16' or 5 meters. Be creative. Interesting shapes will help you keep motivated.
After you have defined your personal goals and decide on the basic type of climbing wall you want to build, apply the principles and tips in the sections below.
Highlights of Building Your Own Climbing Wall:
- Planning. In this phase you define your training objectives. Based on your objectives, you decide on the wall's shape, size and features. Blend the actual location, budget, and your construction expertise together to develop a mental picture. Construct a model and some basic working drawings. Develop a working estimate of construction cost and time. The planning phase ends with a "go, no-go" decision based on the cost and time estimate.
- Designing. During design you calculate a specific bill of materials, exact costs, determine specific cut angles, type of joints, support framework, loads and stresses, etc. During the design phase you must clear any technical hurdles before the sawdust starts flying.
- Construction. This phase could be the most fun, or the most frustrating. If you have done careful planning and design, the construction will go much smoother.
- Finishing. This is the final phase before cranking the holds on. The finishing includes preparing the surface for paint, application, sand texture, and adding a fallzone.